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2012: December

This month we give our thoughts on Brass Band England's possible Walter Mitty, the reality of Brass in Concert and praise a Scottish politician...

Brass Bands England’s Walter Mitty?

The news that Terry Luddington will be leaving his post as the Liaison Officer of Brass Bands England may have come as a shock to some, but not as a surprise to many.

It could be argued that his has been something of a Walter Mitty appointment at the organisation - full of undoubted enthusiasm and well meaning rhetoric which has resulted in little of lasting value: A bit like the eponymous hero of the James Thurber novel whose grandiose ideas and fantastic daydreams of personal triumphs never add up to anything of substance in the real world.

Supporters will point to ‘Brass the Baton’ and ‘Mad 4 Brass’ as well as many successful grant applications for individual bands; critics will highlight falling BBE membership, the highly improbable aim to see a band in around 2000 postcode areas by 2020, and claims at the most recent AGM that his work could help raise millions of pounds in just a few years for banding organisations.

The reality of his appointment was that he had an impossible job to do; not helped it must be said by the damaging internal feuding within the then British Federation of Brass Bands.

But then again he perhaps never really seemed to be able to show that he fully understood the reality of what the post could actually achieve either.

In one famous Walter Mitty storyline the hapless hero ends up in front of a firing squad after his life saving exploits once again come to nothing.

In the real world Terry Luddington has left Brass Bands England at a time when they could be facing a terminal ending of their own, to become the new Chief Executive Officer of the British & International Federation of Festivals.

We wish them both a happy ever after ending.

What do you think?
Send an email to:
comments@4barsrest.com 


The reality of Brass in Concert

Brass in Concert certainly woke up to the reality of the modern banding world this year.

Without a single promise of unachievable aims and objectives, ‘tick box’ rhetoric and impossible strategies it set about retaining its position as the banding world’s premier entertainment contest by simply listening to people who understood the difference between fantasy and reality.

And as a result it succeeded –rather splendidly.

By retaining the event’s undoubted strengths but tweaking its more obvious weaknesses Brass in Concert has entered a new and exciting era built on a foundation of realism others can only dream about...

What do you think?
Send an email to:
comments@4barsrest.com 


In praise of the real world of Scottish politicians....

You can become very cynical about the motivation that drives the Machiavellian world of politicians, but the recent appearance of Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish Minister for Culture and External Affairs at the Scottish Open Brass Band Championship was a bit of an eye opener.

Not only did she make a very good speech, but she also made it after sitting in and listening to quite a few bands on the contest day too – enthusiastically tweeting her appreciation and general astonishment about the standard of the playing that was on show from the young performers.

Critics may point out that there are always votes in kids doing well from Government investment – but then again, the Scots are not renowned for chucking money at organisations that are full of empty promises either.

A crafty politician knows when something has worked, and worked well – and Fiona Hyslop knew that the investment made in the Scottish Brass Band Association’s long term development strategy is already paying rich dividends.

SBBA may well have found itself a new high profile political brass band supporter - and fan.

What do you think?
Send an email to:
comments@4barsrest.com



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Darren R. Hawken

PGdip, BMus(hons) PGCE, dipABRSM, LRSM
Conductor, Arranger, Teacher, Adjudicator, Band Trainer